Fresh from Arri's latest new camera, the 4K MINI, they have announced a new range of ALEXAs that mongrelise from other cameras like the ALEXA65 and the AMIRA. ALEXA SXT gets the sensor from ALEXA, the electronics from the 65 and the colour management from AMIRA.
In-camera recording is ProRes 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) and ProRes 4K Cine (4096 x 2637 pixels), although the SXT retains the original 3.4K ALEV III sensor of previous ALEXAs. However Arri has added the electronics of the mighty ALEXA 65 camera. These high-performance electronics combine the latest generation of FPGA processors with a fast internal backplane and form the basis of a completely overhauled image processing chain, advanced pixel correction and optional noise reduction. This results in a further improvement in overall image quality.
Like their XT predecessors, ALEXA SXT cameras retain the Open Gate, 4:3 and 16:9 sensor modes, which can be recorded in ARRIRAW or ProRes.
The creation of new looks has been made possible by using the colour management engine originally developed for the AMIRA camera. A new type of look file, the ALF-2 (ARRI Look File 2), contains an ASC CDL (Color Decision List) as well as a 3D LUT (Look-Up Table). The new colour management engine can match the look of current ALEXA cameras, but also provides the basis for radically different looks. In addition, previewing of looks on set is improved, including the option to use the wide colour gamut of Rec 2020 gamma, while dailies creation is made more efficient and final grading made potentially faster. ALF-2 files and the tools that create them are compatible between ALEXA SXT, ALEXA Mini and AMIRA.
ALEXA SXT cameras include three fully independent HD-SDI outputs. This allows, for instance, a Log C image to be used to show the director a pristine image with live grading, a clean Rec 709 image to be fed to video village, and a Rec 709 image with status information overlays to be displayed on the camera's on-board monitor.
The first ALEXA SXT cameras are planned for release around mid-2015; the full range will comprise ALEXA SXT EV, SXT Plus and SXT Studio models, replacing current ALEXA XT cameras (though the ALEXA Classic EV model will remain in the line-up). ALEXA XT cameras (except ALEXA XT M cameras) shipped between 1st Jan. 2015 and the first shipment of SXT cameras will be eligible for a full SXT upgrade, free of charge.
Concurrent with the ALEXA SXT release ARRI will offer an SXR (Super Xtended Recording) Module upgrade to owners of existing ALEXA XT, XT Plus and XT Studio cameras. The SXR Module upgrade delivers all the features of the SXT cameras, although it might not offer all the future upgrade potential.